In order to address the multiplicity of the Challenges confronting Nigeria, the Government of Muhammadu Buhari and some other regional powers has taken some critical steps to fill gaps which seem to have provided breeding ground for our challenges to thrive. For a very long time, policies were formulated and projects implemented devoid of facts, data and information such as the geospatial needed to provide Evidence – based Decision and execution of Programmes. The incumbent Government has demonstrated much commitment towards taking actions based on Geographic Information to enhance good Planning and implementation.
Under the operations of the Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation (OSGOF) in Nigeria with the Surveyor General of the Federation (SGoF) as the First Representative on AFRIGIST Governing Council, the African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Technology (AFRIGIST) has updated and repackaged its programme to be able to provide Nigeria and other African countries capacities towards meeting the geospatial need.
AFRIGIST formerly known as Regional Centre for Training in Aerospace Surveys (RECTAS) was established in 1972 under the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The Institute which is located within the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife is a bilingual (English and French) inter-governmental educational outlet for the following member countries: Benin, Burkina – Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria the host country, and Senegal. Although it is a “one stop”, solution institution meant to develop highly skilled manpower needs in geospatial information science and technology, and its application as well. It is open to all African countries, providing theoretical and practical trainings in Photogrammetry, Remote-Sensing, Cartography and Geographic Information Science (GIS) including their application in geographical surveys, environmental studies, natural resources management, mapping, land administration among others. It also conducts seminars and courses, researches and provides consultancy services to members of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Recently, the management of AFRIGIST and representatives of OSGOF paid an advocacy visit to the Nassarawa Emirate Council. They laud the Emir of Nassarawa, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibrin, a former Minister for Environment who has been making useful contributions to GIS and land development in the country.
In his speech, the Executive Dircetor of AFRIGIST, Dr. Adewale Akingbade emphasized the importance of the institution not only to Nigeria but the African Continent as a whole. He encouraged the Government, traditional leaders and leaders of thought to advocate the use of geospatial technology, pointing out the relevance of geospatial knowledge and skill. He said AFRIGIST was well positioned for such and enjoined people to attend AFRIGIST for higher education in Geospatial Science and Technology.
Dr. Akingbade expressed delight that the Emir of Nassarawa was knowledgeable in Geographic Information. He expressed hope that the emir would remain exemplary and would lead in the advocacy while commending his materials that were being used by students in the course of their studies.
He urged the Nigerian Government and relevant authorities to encourage the acquisition of geospatial education in the country noting that the benefits remain enormous and Nigeria has not fully tapped into it.
In his remarks, the emir stated that the importance of GIS cannot be over-emphasized because of what Nassarawa State has achieved through the use of geospatial technology.
The emir then used the opportunity to congratulate Surveyor Taiwo .S. Adeniran for his well- deserved appointment as Surveyor General of the Federation(SGOF) and urged him to carry everyone along in order to achieve meaningful development.
The management of AFRIGIST was accompanied by the Director of International Boundary, Surveyor Taofeek Adeleke and the Director of Geodesy, Surveyor Pius Omoshowon on behalf of the SGOF.
Abu, I. Michael
Head of Press and Public Relations